Medicine Personal Statement Interview Questions and Answers
Advice & Insight From Personal Statement Specialists
From your personal statement what is your single top motivation to study medicine?
The main reason I would like to study medicine is so that I can work in a challenging, exciting, and varied job. The work experience placements referenced in my personal statement exposed me to the breadth of career paths in medicine. I saw doctors working in different settings such as MAU, surgery, and clinic, and how each of these rely on effective teamwork. I gained a greater understanding of the roles of doctors and saw them working in multifaceted roles as scholars and scientists, practitioners, and educators and in their role as a professional and agent of change.
Which life experiences mentioned in your personal statement do you think may best help you in your career in medicine?
Playing hockey has helped me to develop strong interpersonal skills which are required by doctors. As both a leader and a team player I have learnt skills in delegation and management, learning to value each team player and spend time understanding their strengths and weakness’. Reflecting on the leadership skills of others I have seen how successful hockey captains are friendly and approachable, they can use their communication skills to motivate the team. They also make sure everyone understands their role. I believe the transferable skills I have learnt in hockey will equip me to study medicine because doctors need a strong emotional intelligence when approaching colleagues and patients, effective teamwork is integral to the delivery of safe and effective care.
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From your personal statement outline an example of when you saw effective care being delivered?
During my work experience I was shadowing a GP who was treating a patient who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. During this consultation, the care provided was effective as the doctor took a patient centred approach. I observed that although the clinician had expertise is knowing and understanding the treatment options, evidence and risks it was the patient who knew the most about their preferences, personal circumstances, values, and goals. The patient and doctor collaborated to agree that for the short term the patient would make lifestyle changes as they hoped to avoid insulin. The doctor effectively consulted by activating and motivating the patient to make changes, the doctor used open questions to address the patents knowledge, skills and confidence in making these changes.
Of your work experiences mentioned in your personal statement, which would you regard as the most insightful?
My work experience involved a mixture of shadowing placements and care placements in a caring role. Shadowing doctors gave me a realistic understanding of what a career in medicine entails. I was able to gain a greater understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a doctor. Moreover, I observed the skills and attributes needed by clinicians. However, I believe working in a care home was the most insightful experience for me because it allowed me to extensively interact with the residents and improve the interpersonal skills that doctors need. Shadowing other care workers, I gained an appreciation of how effective care providers need to address both the physical and mental needs of their patients. I increased my skill and understanding of communication in a professional context. The role allowed me to comfort the residents when they felt confused or agitated and I was able to appreciate the required detachment when working in palliative care.
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If there was one additional thing that you could mention in your personal statement what would it be?
The corona virus pandemic has motivated me to want to become a doctor as I have gained insights from doctors online, posting about their experiences in healthcare during this time. If I was to rewrite my personal statement, I would have further referenced some of the British Medical Journals information pages I have read as well as regularly engaging with The Telegraph’s health page. As they were not physical experiences, I didn’t reference how I had engaged which such literature however this shows that I am proactive, keen and intellectual.
What achievement/ experiences on your personal statement show you have the intellectual skill and academic ability to cope in medicine?
My EPQ involved analysing and reviewing many scientific articles and journals about Alzheimer’s disease. I learnt to manage resource lists, evaluate resources, cope with academic writing and make useful notes from academic sources. In medicine the ability to effectively research and present findings is integral. As the degree involves elements of case/problem-based learning I will be able to further develop my research and presentation skills. Medicine degrees involve a lot of independent study and the career itself requires lifelong learning.
Tell me about a time mentioned in your personal statement that allowed you to demonstrate adaptability.
In my personal statement I outlined how my experience volunteering at X, a charity for autistic children. In this role I developed skills as a flexible leader. In my role as a youth worker volunteer, I had to change plans to match the hobbies and interests of the teenagers who had attended that week. I learnt to embrace change, work with a wide spectrum of people and be open to new ideas. Doctors must be adaptable to integrate a patient’s cultural values and beliefs into any encounter. They must adapt their communication skills to maximise the patient’s comfort and minimise misunderstanding.
Tell me about a time mentioned in your personal statement that you showed the ability to take responsibility for your own actions.
During my Gold Duke of Edinburgh, I had to take responsibility when I was map reading and lead my team 45 mins in the wrong direction. As a team we focused on what we could do to resolve the situation- this involved retracing our steps back. To avoid this mistake happening again we decided multiple people should be map reading. From this experience I learnt that taking responsibility created a trusting, non-blame culture within my team. I demonstrated my willingness to learn and progress from the mistake.
From the experiences mentioned in your personal statement which did you find the most stressful? How did you manage the stress you were experiencing?
Leading the school’s charity fashion show taught me about effective strategies to mitigate and manage stress. I learnt the importance of planning and effective teamwork using good communication skills. I managed the stress of the workload by delegating different roles such as organising catering, a raffle and additional entertainment etc. Acknowledging the stress, I was experiencing allowed me to be aware of how it could influence my relationships with others and what support I needed to complete the tasks.
From your personal statement tell me about a time you had to show resilience.
In my personal statement I described how within school I was heavily involved in the drama society taking part in the annual school play. I showed a resilient attitude focused on self- evaluation and improvement when I was cast as a chorus member in the play when I was hoping for a main role. When I saw the cast list, I felt extremely disappointed but was able to take a resilient approach and work hard to do this role justice and improve on my drama and singing skills. Due to my commitment to rehearsals and motivated attitude I was cast and performed as an understudy for one of the main roles in the play which allowed me to showcase everything I’d been working on.